If I had to sum up everything I learned in 2012 in one word, it would be "perseverance." Looking back on 2012 the last couple weeks has brought on many mixed feelings. I recently flipped through my prayer journal and was surprised how much happened and how many struggles I went through this past year. I was saddened to see some of the things I had written. I was blessed by others. Through it all, I saw God's faithfulness in what He all brought me through.
I started my year with a new job that has grown my skills, but has also been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I went to Europe, I bought a new car, I became involved with IJM and spent several months planning and putting on a fundraiser for survivors of human trafficking. I have taken risks and obeyed God when it didn't make sense. I have laughed, cried, and struggled with things many will never know about.
This year started hard, and it has ended hard. I'm not complaining or trying to sound depressing, but that's just the reality of it. The things I have experienced this year have stretched me beyond what I thought was possible, to points where I thought I would break, but didn't. As hard as it sometimes was though, I am thankful for it. I'm thankful that I learned things this year that I would not have learned had it been easier. I'm thankful I didn't throw in the towel on the hardest days. I'm thankful that I have learned to depend on God to get me through my days, to give me just enough strength for the next step. I'm thankful that I have grown in prayer as much as I have, that my time with the Lord has become sweeter, even though it has often been very painful.
It has been a year of perseverance. It has been a year of trusting God when I didn't understand. It has been a year of remembering His promises, remembering that He loves me, no matter what I go through. At the time of writing this, 2013 doesn't look any easier. I wish it did, but the next few months will likely be filled with more trials, hard days and a lot of uncertainty. I will have to continue to put a lot of my dreams and ambitions aside for a time. I will have to continue to persevere even when others encourage me to give up. I will have to continue to trust God and His purpose for me, even in times I don't understand.
I do look forward to 2013 with mixed emotions. Fear, hope, anticipation. I remind myself that God's will is the best and that He desires to give good things to those who ask Him. I remind myself that one day He will show me the purpose of everything and I will no longer wonder, but be truly thankful. In closing, I leave you with the words of a song that has brought me comfort in recent weeks.
"One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit."
--"Already There" by Casting Crowns
God sees how everything will play out. One day we will understand and it will be beautiful!